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Renovating Becky Miller
by Sharon Hinck

Reviewed by Heather R. Hunt

"...a delightful and insightful sequel ... will leave readers with a grin on their lips, a giggle in their throats, and hope in their hearts."

After exploring the entertaining Secret Life of Becky Miller in her first novel, Sharon Hinck now tackles the project of Renovating Becky Miller in this delightful and insightful sequel. While Becky has successfully dealt with her unrealistic and overly ambitious secret desires to do "big things for God," she now must tackle her knee-jerk need to "fix things" for God. Harried Moms and church workers everywhere will find much that is familiar and relatable in Becky's many crises. Here's a quick list:

* Distant husband

* Disapproving MIL (mother in law) who doesn't appreciate free hotel service in your home

* Aggressive behavior from 9-year-old son

* Rebellious sibling who expects free hotel service in your home

* Nagging health concerns

* Disappearing best friend

* Too much work to accomplish at supposedly PT (part-time) church job

* Home renovations that go on and on ...

See anything on the list that you, dear reader, have tried to "fix for God?"

Hinck certainly understands the hearts of many Christian women. Well-intentioned and service-oriented to the core, nevertheless, these sincere women often end up burned-out and broken when they could be "casting their cares on the Lord so He will sustain them." A hard lesson to learn and a weighty spiritual topic to tackle, but in Hinck's capable hands Becky's journey is portrayed with humor and a light touch that makes the medicine go down as smoothly as honey - and taste even sweeter than the honeycomb.

One fun technique Hinck uses - in authentic chick-lit style - is to begin each chapter with Becky's fantasies of starring in various movie scenes, all of which give a hint as to what might befall Becky in the latest episode of her own life. Readers can interact with the story by trying to guess which movie each scene comes from. Don't worry, you can check your answers with the handy list of references provided in the back of the book. Hinck - or her publisher - also provides discussion questions that you can use on your own or with a small group, whether it's a reading club or even a Bible study.

In fact, while I read this book alone and thoroughly enjoyed Becky's story, I think the ideal reading experience for Renovating Becky Miller could be within a group. Book clubs will have lots to talk about because it's an entertaining story that's well-structured and well-written about fully developed characters. Women's Bible study groups will have lots to discuss about Becky's situations, mistakes, and realizations. And the extra support and reinforcement that these women may receive from each other as they relate to Becky's struggles to fix everything may help them take those leaps of faith to trust God to handle their lives and their crises. This is such a valid and crucial truth for growing into mature Christians. Hey, no one ever said growing up was easy.

But as Sharon Hinck's Becky Miller starts to get it, so will readers. And even though life doesn't have the neat, happy endings of many of the movies Miller fantasizes about, at least this chapter in Miller's renovation story has a hilarious ending that will leave readers with a grin on their lips, a giggle in their throats, and hope in their hearts.

Heather R. HuntHeather R. Hunt is a business editor in Connecticut. For fun she reads, writes, cheers on the Red Sox, and enjoys tennis and cycling. She also co-leads a local tea party and enjoys holding government officials and media outlets accountable. Check out her blogs, The View from Stonewater and Connecticut for Sarah Palin.